Exploring the Potential for Community Where Diverse Individuals Belong

Part of the Studies in Childhood and Youth book series (SCY)


This chapter explores the meaning of community in contemporary times. Specifically, the focus is on how some Canadian youth think about belonging in middle school and whether their idea of community includes the acceptance of individual difference. Student’s perspectives on community relationships were drawn from essays and poster submissions received from multiple school sites across Southern Ontario, a region with one of the most diverse populations in Canada. Themes pulled from the youth’s work described five attributes of a positive community: Support for Others, Respect and Care, Dialogue, Healthy Conflict, and Safety. The students’ ideas also indicated an overarching ontology ‘Being-in-Relation’ where community and individuality are dependent. These themes are explored against a backdrop of community theory and the relational ontology of Martin Buber. This chapter offers a perspective quite different from historical constructions of community where belonging has often required assimilation, and provides significant implications for theory, practice, and research.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brock UniversitySt. Catharines, OntarioCanada

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